Great Biblical Doctrines
A collection of 55 of the lectures from the Friday evening meetings held at Westminster Chapel. Unfortunately, this collection is incomplete due to quality problems with the original tapes and the fact that some tapes were missing. The full series in the book includes 81 lectures.
Union with Christ
In this sermon on union with Christ, Dr, Martyn Lloyd Jones states that “The union of the believer with Christ is one of the most glorious doctrines of the Christian faith.” What makes this biblical doctrine extremely beautiful and incredibly vital to one’s understanding of Christian living? How does it differ from the false views of eternity and spirituality? In this sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches what it means to be permanently, irrevocably united with Christ. Christians are now partakers of the divine nature, complete through His priestly work. Their relationship with God is personal and individual. There is no need for Catholicism’s idea of an intermediary as the relationship is not dependent on a church or priest. Beginning with the mystics, a view of eternity and spirituality has emerged that reduces a person after death to no more than a part of the spiritual aura surrounding the universe. Dr. Lloyd-Jones cuts through this false view and demonstrates the beauty of the Christian worldview where Christians maintain a distinct personhood throughout now and eternity, while still enjoying the divine nature due to the union with Christ.
False converts are more common than one might think. True conversion is an act of God upon the human heart. But what exactly are characteristics of a true conversion? In this sermon on conversion, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tackles these questions, showing how conversion is the first exercise of the new nature in ceasing from old forms of life and starting a new life. For the new convert, it is the moment at which one passes from spiritual death to eternal life in Christ. Imposters throughout church history claim to accept Jesus and then turn from Him after a period of time. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out, it is entirely possible to undergo a counterfeit, temporary conversion if one submits to a false gospel based on feelings or experiences. “Yet,” Lloyd-Jones notes, “the defense of the Christian faith must not rest on something we experience, but on its objectivity.” True salvation is not based on whimsical feelings but on two essential factors of salvation. Believers are less concerned with personal experiences and emotions, and instead yearn to know God Himself.
What is the difference between repentance and remorse? In this sermon on repentance, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses the incredible weight of these topics that separate eternal life from death. Repentance is a turning from sin to Christ. It is a genuine regret and full confession of sin. But how does it differ from worldly remorse? Dr. Lloyd-Jones carefully explains that while repentance involves feelings of anguish and guilty remorse, it is repentance that results in a change of mind. Worldly remorse will cry, but not forsake and turn away from sinful activities. The gospel message must call others to submit their life to Christ, not just feel bad about their sin. Only once one has been saved can they come to know the joy of discipleship, forgiveness, and move forward in Christian living. For the gospel message to be believable, the world must see transformed lives, lives redeemed from eternal death.
“Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” The author of Hebrews 11 is clear: the path to pleasing God is paved by saving faith. Faith is the channel through which salvation in Jesus Christ is given to a believer. What exactly is faith? Is there a place for reason? In this sermon on saving faith, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones analyzes the two elements of saving faith through the lens of Scripture: an assent to the truth of Christianity, and a firm commitment to living it out. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains, the latter is needed to understand Jesus’s teachings on a life of full surrender. Though faith involves the mind and intellect, it also involves the heart. Additionally, Dr. Lloyd-Jones presents the case for why faith and reason are not at odds with each other, as is commonly claimed today by secularists. Though reason can lead to many conclusions about God and His word, it can only take a person so far— belief in Christ and not one’s works or mental assent is needed. Nothing else in this world will satisfy.
Adoption is a beautiful picture of selflessness and the strong protecting the vulnerable. To be a Christian means to be adopted into God’s family. Christians are chosen by God and brought into His family through no righteousness of their own. In this sermon on adoption, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains through Scripture how God transfers His people from children of wrath to His family as sons and daughters. Christians have been freed from sin’s bondage and are grafted into God’s eternal family. Some teachers have claimed this to be of no effect and instead support a universal fatherhood of God and universal brotherhood of all people— yet, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones proves, that view is unbiblical. Similar to physical adoption, spiritual adoption has beneficial consequences for the believer: namely, the release from a spirit of bondage and fear into a spirit of liberty, unhindered access to the Father, and God’s present protection, consolation, and perfect provision for every need and the promise of a future inheritance.
Sanctification - the Different Views
Every Christian still battles with sin. But how should Christians approach this issue? The doctrine of sanctification is filled with hope, and in this sermon on the different views of sanctification, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones guides the listener through the different views of this doctrine. Sanctification means to be set apart for God and His service, to be made holy. Though it doesn’t remove sin, it is the process by which the Holy Spirit removes the pollution of that sin and shifts desires from disobedience to God-honoring behavior. How long does sanctification take, and when in a person’s spiritual journey does it take place? Dr. Lloyd-Jones walks through the various perspectives and aids the believer in reaching a biblical understanding of the answers. Some Christians have asked, “Why does it matter to study a doctrine that doesn’t determine where someone will spend eternity?” Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains it is the Christian duty to search for the truth in all areas of life and study. Without knowing the truth, believers can become vulnerable to believing false doctrine and fall prey to heresies. Studying truth helps believers to avoid this, and it aids in growing them closer to Christ. Praise God that He does not abandon His children after saving them, but rather actively molds them into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Sanctification - God's Work and Ours
Does a Christian ever stop sinning? Is sanctification an experience over a lifetime? In this sermon titled “Sanctification: God’s Work and Ours,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tackles these issues and more in this sermon on the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of a believer. Sanctification is the process by which Christians are changed to be more like Jesus Christ. This begins at the moment of salvation and though they are set apart from the world, Dr. Lloyd-Jones shows from Scripture that sanctification is not a one-time experience or event. The New Testament authors frequently implore readers to fight sin and to avoid unrighteousness. This unmistakably shows that though Christians are saved from their sin, they are not saved out of it, and that becoming like Christ is a process that takes time. What about experiences of radical and sudden transformation that some believers claim to have had? Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that such transformations have nothing to do with Christianity alone. While such experiences can promote and aid sanctification, they are not sanctification themselves because they also are experienced by many others who adhere to different worldviews.
Sanctification: The Mighty Process of the Holy Spirit
According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s purpose for everything He does is the Christian’s sanctification. In this sermon titled “The Mighty Process of the Holy Spirit,” he outlines three dangers: Christians must not separate justification and sanctification; Christians cannot believe to both receive sanctification at the time of salvation and also at a point in the future; and Christians must be wary of preaching a false evangelism that stops at forgiveness and excludes holy living. The Christian should care about living a life that is pleasing to God because God is holy. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains the Christian’s responsibility in sanctification. While the Holy Spirit is at work within them, they must not resist His work. Paul wrote about this in Romans 8 and other passages, teaching that Christians must actively seek to eliminate sin from their lives. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains how Christians can come alongside the Holy Spirit in His work of making them more like Jesus Christ.
Sanctification in Romans 6 to 8
What is the believer’s relationship to sin? In this sermon on sanctification, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses this topic, saying “It is impossible for a Christian to remain in continual sin due to sanctification.” This is a freeing truth. From the moment of conversion, the Spirit of Life dwells in the believer, and they cannot be subject to the carnal. Moreover, this is a promise for all Christians, not just a blessing that some receive and others don’t. And yet, the struggle against sin is still a daily battle for followers of Christ. To help the listener better understand, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that from the moment of salvation, Christians are dead to sin since they have been united with Christ and His life. The Christian spirit is alive to Christ, yet their bodies are still under the bondage and dominion of sin. For those who are discouraged that they will not be able to fight sin, Dr. Lloyd-Jones offers some encouraging wisdom, imploring the believer to go to Scripture and remember the Lord’s promise to be with those who seek Him. Christians are called to fight sin, and with the help of the Holy Spirit living in each believer, they can overcome it.
Spirit Baptism and Filling
What does it mean to be baptized by the Holy Spirit? This phrase is often misunderstood by many Christians, and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones brings clarity to this topic in this sermon on being filled with the Holy Spirit. Many people will say that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the same as salvation. Yet, this implies that the apostles were not saved until Pentecost since that is when the Spirit came on them. Dr. Lloyd-Jones defines the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the initial experience of the glory, reality, and love of the Father. Can one be filled with the Spirit repeatedly? Dr. Lloyd-Jones presents his argument for why he believes this to be the case and why it is the source of power and ability for the believer in Christian service and witnessing. This filling, he says, differentiates an advocate from a witness. Dr. Lloyd-Jones closes out by offering Scripture’s perspective on how to determine if someone is truly filled with the Spirit, and he establishes a foundational principle—revival is the pouring out of God’s spirit, and more than anything, that is needed in order to turn all countries back to Him. Christians have a biblical responsibility to pray for this.
Further Reflections on the Baptism of the Spirit
Christians can be confused about the role emotions and experiences should play in their faith. Is doctrine the only way through which one learns about God? In this sermon on the Baptism of the Spirit, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives further thoughts and Scriptural exposition on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and on why it is a mistake to rely too much on either experiences or doctrine when thinking through this aspect of Christian faith. By pointing to the examples of Jesus’s disciples, Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches that Scripture presents instances of people who believed in Jesus Christ and were saved, yet had not been baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit. The evidence is added to by the fact that several well-known, established Christians have gone decades (in some cases) before being filled with the Spirit— this list includes men like Jonathan Edwards and D.L. Moody. Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches that this baptism is available to all Christians, but that many are afraid of being overly-emotional and have cut out all emotion from their walk with Christ. This is an error that is not Scriptural. Those who believe in Christ have received eternal life as a gift— what could possibly cause more joy than that realization?
The Sealing of the Holy Spirit
Can a Christian ever lose their salvation? What does it mean to be sealed by the Holy Spirit? This term of “being sealed” is used three times in Scripture. Throughout history, seals have been used to certify, authenticate, and demonstrate ownership over something. It also provides an element of security. How does this concept of a seal relate to the life of a Christian? Those who are followers of Jesus Christ have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, who acts as a certificate and authenticator that He lives in the Christian and submits to God’s purpose and plan. To be sealed by the Holy Spirit also means to have the security of belonging to Christ and an eternal inheritance. He has sealed His people, and thus they are secured as His possession. In this sermon titled “The Sealing and the Earnest,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that part of this security is the Spirit in advance of the promise to be given in full at a later time. What does this mean? This advance of the Holy Spirit is a pledge given by God that He will give the rest of the inheritance to His people when they go to live with Him. Though they can be sealed by the Holy Spirit, they can still grieve Him, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones duly notes. To avoid this, Christians must be willing to live lives in a way that gives full control to God and runs from sin.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
What are spiritual gifts and how does a Christian determine their spiritual gift? In this sermon on spiritual gifts, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones takes the listener through this topic as he preaches on Scripture’s teachings regarding spiritual gifts. These are extraordinary powers that separate Christians from one another and enable them to serve effectively in different ways across the church. Spiritual gifts are not a blessing that some Christians receive— they are promised to all believers. One myth is that the ability of one’s gift is related to its possessor’s spiritual maturity. Dr. Lloyd-Jones takes great pains to dispel this myth and to show that not only do the gifts differ widely from each other, but that they are not determined by the level of one’s spirituality. Theologians for centuries have argued over which gifts were only for the early church, which gifts exist in the church across its existence, and even if any spiritual gifts are still in existence today. Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides a helpful commentary and discussion on these questions, showing the difference between natural gifts and supernatural gifts. What about the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Listen carefully as he unwraps this and more in this sermon on the Holy Spirit and His spiritual gifts to the church.
The Doctrine of The Church
Why is the church so important and is it really necessary for the Christian’s personal walk with Christ? Many Christians throughout history have minimized the church and it continues today. Is the kingdom of God the same thing as the church? According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in this sermon titled “The Doctrine of the Church,” most problems flow from not taking the church seriously. The answers start by learning how “church” is used in Scripture. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that the church is a visible expression of the kingdom of God, yet it is not the kingdom in all its fullness. All Christians are part of the worldwide church. Dr. Lloyd-Jones shares that it is impossible to be a Christian and not be part of the global church. In the Scriptures, church almost always refers to a local body of believers, and it means “called out ones.” But not everything that calls itself a church is truly a redeemed congregation. It is these individual bodies and individual Christians all over the world that make up the global church. Christians have been called out of the world into the global church and kingdom of God, and this has massive consequences for the Christian life. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones helps the listener understand how to live as an important part of the church and why this is important.
The Marks and Government of the Church
Jesus Christ is the leader of the church. In this sermon on the government of the church, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones delves into the practical aspects of why and how Christ created and leads His church. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that a church exists to preach the word, for the upbuilding of the saints and the strengthening of faith, for evangelism, for administration of the sacraments, and for the exercise of discipline. This last characteristic is key and most often overlooked by Christians. The global church suffers due to not exercising discipline. Church discipline is commanded for those who call themselves Christians and yet live or teach contrary to Scripture. The apostle Paul repeated this command, warning that a church entangled in the ways and thoughts of the world will not be a channel through which the Holy Spirit works. Dr. Lloyd-Jones surveys various views on church governance, including the Presbyterian and Catholic views. Choosing a biblical church is an incredibly important part of being a Christian, and this sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones helps educate believers on certain traits to look for in biblical churches.
Is communion a means of receiving grace? In this sermon on sacraments, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones begins a series on the sacraments and their place in the lives of believers. This topic provokes many different views but as Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, keeping these practices is one of the ways that believers receive God’s grace. Protestants have held that there are two kinds of sacraments: communion and baptism, and that these two sacraments are outward spiritual signs of inward spiritual grace given by God. However, this is different from the Catholic view, which holds that God’s grace is in the actual water of baptism, and the food and drink of communion. This difference brings up an interesting question: what is the relationship between the sacrament and the grace that is given through it? In this sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones presents his argument for the Protestant view holding that the sacraments serve to signify the seal of the Holy Spirit and convey Christ’s love to the recipient. Dr. Lloyd-Jones likens this to what an engagement ring accomplishes. Though the ring itself is not the love of the man for the woman, it is a token, a symbol and new expression of that love. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones guides the listener through this sometimes challenging subject.
What is the purpose of baptism? Why did Jesus teach baptism after someone is saved? In this sermon on the sacrament of baptism (the second sermon in his series on the sacraments of the church), Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones walks through a topic sometimes debated even amongst believers. Baptism’s meaning, he says, is an outward illustration of the inward cleansing from the pollution of sin. Its purpose is not to cleanse from sin and regenerate because that would mean that people are saved through the work of baptism, something that Scripture clearly denies. So, what does it accomplish? Baptism serves as a sign and seal of one’s justification and remission of sins. And yet, he says, not everyone is eligible to be baptized. This teaching runs counter to the Catholic teaching on baptism. What about infant baptism? Should babies be baptized? Running through a list of arguments for and against infant baptism, Dr. Lloyd-Jones shows from Scripture that this practice is not biblical since the Bible encourages only believers to be baptized. He also touches on another oft-controversial topic: should baptism only be full-immersion, or is sprinkling acceptable? He provides the historical and scriptural background for immersion and sprinkling, and aids the listener in coming to a biblically-supported position on the issue.
The Lord's Supper
In this sermon on the Lord’s Supper, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones concludes his series of sermons on the sacraments with this message, focusing specifically on communion. Like baptism, communion is a sign to the recipient of God’s work in the believer, and also a reminder of the seal of the Holy Spirit living in him or her. However, communion is uniquely vivid in signifying the Lord’s death in the breaking of the bread and pouring out of the wine. As with the water for baptism, Catholics believe that God’s grace is actually in the bread and juice of communion, an idea called transubstantiation—the false thinking that the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus. Dr. Lloyd-Jones takes the listener through the arguments for and against this, showing that it is an unbiblical idea. Who is able to take communion? As with baptism, Dr. Lloyd-Jones demonstrates from Scripture that communion is only for those who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Death and Immortality
Everyone lives forever. But what happens and how does it happen? For many years, people had lost curiosity about the study of these questions because the world was so comfortable. And then World Wars I and II occurred, shattering people’s confidence and security in the things the world had to offer. Everything was uncertain, and thus, interest in studying these topics was revived. In this sermon titled “Death and Immortality,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses death as a fruitful means of evangelism because it forces people to face questions of eternal importance. Oftentimes, the Lord used the fear of death to prompt people to examine their hearts. Death is not the end of existence, but simply the separation of the body from the soul. Death exists simply because sin entered the world— it is a natural consequence of disobeying God. Even though Christians are saved from eternal death of the soul, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains why Christians still suffer and die. Even though they experience death, believers can have a vastly different outlook on it because they have been saved from eternal death through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Intermediate State
What happens between death and the final resurrection, the so-called “intermediate state”? In this sermon on “The Intermediate State,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones presents and explains several views on the intermediate state. Some propose that souls sleep until Jesus comes again; some argue that the dead reside in Abraham’s bosom or a place of suffering until the final judgment; others argue that only those who have eternal life with God will even exist eternally, a view called conditional mortality. But what does the Bible say? Dr. Lloyd-Jones presents a biblical case for why both believers and unbelievers will live eternally, either with God or apart from Him forever in suffering. Many people are troubled by this thought—how could a loving God cause and allow people to suffer forever? “Surely,” they say, “those who die will have another chance to be saved after they die.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers these questions firmly but biblically, reminding the listener that one must not allow one’s own idea of justice and love to influence how they look at and interpret Scripture. One’s eternal destiny is decided by their choice to repent or rebel in this life.